Why Does a City Need Trees?
The most common answer to this question continues to be "aesthetics." The beauty of trees appeals to a wide range of people and is certainly a very important benefit. In urban areas, healthy trees can completely transform the hard lines and dull surfaces of man-made structures. This alone has been shown to increase business in retail shopping districts. More importantly than aesthetics, trees function as integral parts of a city's infrastructure, serving as insulators that cool summer heat and screens that buffer winter cold. Through this year-round temperature regulation, healthy trees can save home and business owners, and ultimately entire cities enormous amounts of money in energy costs. Trees also serve as natural air filters, cleaning the air we breathe by absorbing pollutants and releasing oxygen. Also, through the absorption of stormwater, trees serve as soil stabilizers, reducing and often times eliminating soil erosion. Trees serve as water filters, absorbing chemicals and other pollutants from stormwater before they reach natural water systems. This natural means of water absorption and filtration directly and very effectively assists city stormwater drainage systems.
Perhaps an under-publicized benefit of trees is that they can be crime reducers. Research show that the beauty of trees and natural areas can have a genuine calming effect on people and effect behavior. Research has also proven that trees aid in healing. Hospital patients with views of trees and natural areas had reduced, post-surgery recovery times and hospital stays.
These and the many other benefits that healthy trees offer urban areas are of vital importance. The benefits of healthy trees increase as those trees age and grow, making the preservation and protection of intact stands of trees critical not only to the urban forest itself but also to the individuals living in and around it. Given these and the many other benefits of trees, there should be no question that we should make every effort to insure the sustainability of one our greatest natural resources... TREES!
Tree Tips ArchivesSeveral years ago, Hoover's Landscape Architecture & Urban Forestry Division had the privilege of writing short, educational articles for the residents and businesses of Hoover via the 'Hoover News' newsletter. These articles were a great way for us to illustrate proper tree care techniques and promote the benefits of healthy trees. Due to the positive feedback we received regarding our 'Tree Tips', we decided to archive the articles online. View the Tree Tips Archives.
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